Ricciardo goes top in Rookie Cup. Pattaya, Thailand -- BMW Junior Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Eurasia Motorsport) notched up his second win of the season today after what was arguably one of the most exciting races so far this year. Fellow...
Ricciardo goes top in Rookie Cup.
Pattaya, Thailand -- BMW Junior Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Eurasia Motorsport) notched up his second win of the season today after what was arguably one of the most exciting races so far this year. Fellow Junior and Eurasia Motorsport team mate, Aaron Lim (MAS) put his run of ill-luck firmly behind with a well-earned second place having fended off a determined Sam Abay (NZL/Team E-Rain) right up to the line.
Ricciardo's win puts the 17-year-old top of the Rookie Cup standings a point clear of Earl Bamber (NZL/Team Meritus), with Thailand's James Grunwell (Team Meritus) in 3rd. In the Driver Classification, Abay still tops the leaderboard, with Bamber second, but Ricciardo's win reduces the gap to the Kiwi to 11 points.
While Ricciardo is undoubtedly on a roll, he was also pleased to have team mate Lim on the podium alongside him. Said Lim, who recently tested with the Malaysian A1 Grand Prix team at Silverstone: "It's been a while (since I've been on the podium) and it feels really good. At the start, I saw a gap when Earl went wide and spun, and went through. I was very fortunate and made up some places."
Starting from pole, Ricciardo made a good start off the grid and, despite the best efforts of Bamber, held P1 into the first turn and never looked back for the 20 lap race. Bamber faired less well, running wide and spinning in front of Abay and the two cars touched. That put both right back down the field, and allowed Ricciardo to pull out a lead from Lim, Mohamed Al Baharna (BRN/Team E-Rain) and BMW Junior Dominic Storey (NZL/Eurasia Motorsport). Storey kept the pressure on Al Baharna and found a way past to go 3rd, which would have meant a 1-2-3 for both the BMW Juniors and Eurasia Motorsport. However, it was not to be as Championship leader Abay was a man on a mission and, despite his best efforts to hold him off, the Australian found a way by and Storey spun out shortly afterwards.
At the front of the field, Lim managed to close the gap to Ricciardo for a few laps, until he had to take evasive action when a backmarker spun in front of him. The race leader pulled away once again, and in no time Abay loomed large in the Malaysian's mirrors. Abay's determination, however, was outmatched by Lim's resolve to hold his second place in what was a real crowd-pleaser of a finish, with just one twentieth of a second between the pair at the flag.
Said Abay: "It was my most difficult race this year. I got a bad start and was 4th by turn one. Earl spun in front of me and we tapped, and everyone went around us. After that, I was trying to catch up and picked them off one-by-one. I made a mistake, but stayed with it, caught Dominic and managed to overtake him."
Pole-sitter Bamber had an eventful race, but retains his 2nd place in the Driver Classification. After this disastrous start, he spun later on in the race as he fought back through the field, got airborne and, remarkably, rejoined the race to finish 4th.
Ricciardo had opened up a gap of over four seconds by the chequered flag, and has vowed to continue his winning form in Round 14. The starting grid, which is decided on the results of the previous two races, will see Ricciardo on pole once again, with Bamber alongside, then Abay and the three other BMW Juniors; Lim, Storey and local hope, Grunwell.